The Member of Parliament is adamant the Chelsea centre-back must step down as Three Lions skipper after being charged of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand
By Damian Collins
It is time for John Terry to do the right thing - stand aside as England captain.
By wearing the armband, Terry has a public position. He represents football in this country and is a person that people will look up to.
But his standing as a role-model has been compromised by the charges that he faces of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, and for the good of the team he should stand aside as captain until he can clear his name.
Of course, we must not presume he is guilty. If successful in the court case, which will take place after Euro 2012, he should of course be reinstated in the team - while if he is found guilty, the Football Association need to consider what sanction there should be.
In the meantime, he couldn’t possibly continue in the side with this hanging over him.
It is time for the FA to be decisive. They must act very, very quickly about both the captaincy and also his eligibility to play.
Should Terry continue as a member of a multicultural national team such as England? Well that is something the manager has to consider carefully, thinking about the balance of the squad and what the views of his teammates will be.
The Reading striker and BBC pundit Jason Roberts has tweeted saying Terry should not even be in the England team as he believes his presence will be ‘toxic’. This is a very important point and one that Fabio Capello must take on board.
Nevertheless, I don’t think it would be appropriate for him to be captain whilst he is facing such a serious charge.
He is a leading figure in the game and I believe his position has to be beyond reproach, and I don’t think that is possible while these charges are hanging over him.
|"Terry couldn't possibly continue in the side with this court case hanging over him."
- Damian Collins
Frankly it is appalling that the court case isn’t being heard until July and this due to the judicial process being held up by the football calendar.
These are very serious charges and we simply cannot have a position where a charge like this can be made but nothing at all is done, under the pretence that it hasn’t happened until after the court case.
That isn’t tenable at all. Some action has to be taken in the short term and I think being removed as captain would be the appropriate action.
The world’s gaze is always on the England football team due to the high profile of these footballers. But at Euro 2012 this will be even more magnified. The captain of the team is its ambassador. The embodiment of the team’s values.
In England we were rightly appalled by Sepp Blatter’s remarks that racist abuse on the pitch can be settled with a handshake. Now the issue of racism is on our doorstep and centres around one of the prominent footballers in this country. We will look hypocrites if we do nothing about this.
This can be a defining moment for English football. If John Terry won’t give up the armband then the FA must take it from him.
It is, I believe, the right thing to do.
Damian Collins is MP for Folkestone and Hythe and on the House of Commons' Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Select Committee.